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Kiran

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Posts posted by Kiran


  1. Anders [ Near the Gateway ] 


    Interpreting Keaton’s facial expressions was made difficult by his altered features, but he didn’t once look away; Anders suspected that this might have been quite the feat for him. It was gratifying to have a non-mage actually listen to him for once. Usually it was “shut up, mage” or “Anders please, I don’t want to arrest you”. 


    His eyes widened. Royalty using magic openly? What Keaton was describing didn’t sound anything like Tevinter, either. The way he described it made it sound like magic was just… normal. A tool and a gift, like anything else. The way it should be. 

     

    He couldn't get too excited before learning more. It was possible that the magic system in Keaton’s world was completely different from his own. Maybe those mages there could only deal minor damage, or maybe they were more reliant on lyrium or focuses. At the very least, the history and politics had to be very different. Despite that, just hearing of an example where it worked… 


    There were at least a half-dozen questions that he wanted to ask, but he tried to answer Keaton’s questions first. “Usually they don’t even have to. They’ve convinced the people that apostates are dangerous and that the Circles are for their own good. If that doesn’t work, and if the mage’s own neighbors or local guards don’t turn them in, the Chanty has its own soldiers.” He scowled and his tone grew darker. “Some mages are dangerous. They turn to blood magic or consorting with demons. But not all mages are like that, and most of us just want to live in peace like anyone else. I’ve seen more mages that felt forced to accept the help of demons because of Templars attacking them than I’ve seen genuinely evil mages.” Not that there hadn’t been plenty of those as well. Really, one would think that the hordes of bandits and abominations would give up on trying to attack Hawke’s group after the first dozen were killed. 


    He paused, both to calm himself and to think of how to explain. “There aren’t many noble mages. Having magic in your bloodline is seen as especially shameful for nobles. But if one is born, they lose all of their inheritance rights and power like anyone else would. The only recent example I know of is Arl Eamon’s son, and I don’t know what happened to him. So, yes, they can.” Anders cared more about the common people that didn’t have money or influential family to help them, but denying noble mages their titles was yet another symptom of the Chantry’s corruption. Clearly, they feared that a mage with political influence would be able to challenge their rule- there was no other reason to deny their birthrights. 


    “Magical creatures?” He wasn’t sure what Keaton meant, but it sounded like something personal. “Knowing the Chantry, they would. They’re very pro-human.” Part of him wanted to continue explaining, but he needed to learn more. “Tell me about your world, it’s only fair. You really have both mages and non-mages in power?” 
     


  2. Anders [ Near the Gateway ] 

     

    Yes, I’m human,” Anders replied. What kind of place was Keaton from that he couldn’t tell the difference between an elf and a human? He certainly didn’t look like a dwarf. Perhaps there were non-humans that looked like humans in Keaton’s world- it’d be less strange than dog-eared people. 

     

    The creature sitting wouldn’t prevent it from lunging forward and killing him, but at least it wasn’t looming quite so high over him. More concerning was the way it was making eye contact- that was bad for dogs, right? Or- no, it was good? There was some kind of difference between normal dogs and Mabaris, he knew, but he couldn't quite remember what it was. Did giant talking wolves even count as dogs? He decided to not break eye contact- even if it was a terrible idea, he wasn’t going to submit. 

     

    “It isn’t exactly common where I’m from either,” he said. He didn’t think he’d ever met anyone aside from Neria that could shapeshift, and she hadn’t done very often.

    Forget what he had said about not wanting to give more information than he had to to Keaton. If the dog was willing to listen, he’d tell him. He shook his head before beginning. “The Chantry is a religious organization, founded over nine centuries ago. In most southern countries it has more power than the true rulers, as shown when King Alistair’s attempt to free the Fereldan Circle failed.”


    He paused for a moment, considering how to continue. He could literally talk for hours on it, but he doubted that they had that kind of time or that Keaton would be willing to listen for that long. The basics, then. “The Chantry uses its power to oppress mages, both because it wishes to control us and because it fears us. Aside from creating a culture that fears mages and considers us subhuman, the main method that the Chantry uses to control mages is the Circle system. In all southern countries, mages are forced to live in old prisons and forts where they can be watched by the T- Chantry.” No use complicating things. “Those that refuse or hide are labeled ‘apostates’ and are hunted down. Children are taken from their homes and families torn apart- if the family doesn’t fear their own child so much that they send them away first.” He took a moment to take a deep breath and calm himself. Too personal. “That’s the short version, anyway.” 
     


  3. Natsuki [ Hallway, FIrst Floor ] 

     

    Fiddlesticks’ ears suddenly perked up, and- her eye? Something was very wrong. 

     

    There was no time to react before Fiddlesticks reached Duke, and even if there had been Fiddlesticks was far too fast. Duke’s scream of pain had already reached their ears by the time they managed to unholster their gun. 

     

    The gun was useless anyway, unless Fiddlesticks was far more delicate than they thought. A warbeast of similar size would just be annoyed by a handgun, and robots didn’t bleed. At best it’d be possible to crack the lens of Fiddlesticks’ eye, but they couldn’t shoot with Duke so close anyway. Aside from that, any competent designer would make the large, brightly-colored eye a decoy and have the real cameras elsewhere. 

     

    It was with no small amount of shame that they noticed that Xander had already acted, but they were out of their depth. Despite his aggression and lightning powers, the situation with Nata had been far easier to deal with. Most importantly, they had been prepared, to say nothing of how Natsuki had been the one attacked then. Now, they found their hands itching to reach for a radio to call for backup or for a first aid kit to deal with Duke’s wounds, but they had neither. Damn it, they shouldn’t have assumed that they didn’t need all of their gear just because they had been doing paperwork. 

     

    It left them with few options. Fiddlesticks was far too large for them to push off of Duke, and anyone near enough to find in time had to have already heard Duke’s screams. That was the one fortunate thing- surely Fiddlesticks could have killed him with her weight alone. Either she was inexperienced with killing humans, she wasn’t interested in killing him (which only mattered if she understood how easy humans were to kill), or she was acting like a cat. 

     

    Their only option was to keep their gun trained on Fiddlesticks until ordered otherwise. At most it would serve as a threat, but that was the best chance they had at the moment. 
     


  4. Anders [ Near the Gateway ]

     

    Whatever he had expected, it hadn’t been that. The creature in front of him was massive. It towered over him even with its slouched posture, and it was clearly several times his own weight. Its top-heavy shape was vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. Maker knew he’d faced enough blighted mon- ah, that was it. Those blighted blighted werewolves that had nearly torn his arms off. It wasn't an experience that he wanted to repeat. 

     

    More to the point, it was far too close. His heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest, and it was difficult to think through the fear. For a moment he considered trying to freeze the beast, but he discarded that thought. The werewolf would be able to crush his head in its jaws before he could cast anything. It was for the same reason that he forced Justice to the back of his mind, despite the spirit’s best efforts to take control to deal with the threat. His eyes flashed blue and he tightened his grip on his staff, ready for-

     

    It spoke. That was new. None of the werewolves he’d met had spoken, but according to Neria a different, non-blighted group of them had been able to speak. It didn’t really matter either way, because Neria wasn’t the type to forget details like “oh yeah, and they spoke in our minds.”. Anders was pretty sure that if he grit his teeth any harder one of them would crack, because he really wasn’t having a good day.

     

    He flinched and tried to lean back when the werewolf (?) brought its head closer to him, but it didn’t deter the beast. Its sneeze would have been funny if Anders hadn’t been so confused and sure that he was inches away from being killed by a gigantic dog (of course it was a dog; the universe didn’t seem to get that he was a cat person). 

     

    “You don’t smell like a kitsune. Oh, oh! When you said you were an apostate were you referring to your species? The only other shifters I’ve heard of are the laguz. Some of them can turn into cats, but they have cat ears and a tail.”

     

    Oh. No wonder the voice, echoed as it was, sounded familiar. Who else could manage to sound so excited while making no sense at all? (Don’t answer that, Justice, we’ve gone over rhetorical questions before.) Feeling slightly less concerned about his skull being crushed into tiny pieces, he took a step backward, if only to get away from Keaton’s breath. “No, that’s not what I meant! My species doesn’t have anything to do with it.” Keaton had to be from a different world if he hadn’t even heard the word ‘apostate’ before (as if the ears didn’t give it away). “An apostate is a mage that doesn’t submit to the rule of the Chantry,” he said after a short pause. He had been tempted to avoid giving Keaton more information than he had to, but the habit of explaining the evils of the Circles had won out. 
     


  5. Anders [ Gateway ]

     

    What kind of mage? That question alone would have made some amount of sense, but the longer Keaton spoke the more confused Anders felt. ‘Dark mage’ was an archaic euphemism for blood mages and ‘witch’ was an uncommon insult for hedge mages, but it wasn’t gender specific. He’d never even heard of the rest of the terms that spewed from the ‘wolfskin’s’ mouth. Besides, no one would ever ask someone if they were a blood mage with the bright, excited tone that Keaton used. “...an apostate?” Hopefully that would appease him. 

     

    Oh, lovely, of course they couldn’t let him go back and wanted him to help them. No thanks. Helping well-meaning people with ‘missions’ hadn’t at all gone well the last two times. Squashing down the urge to say ‘of course I’ll help, what should I do first’ (thanks, Justice, but no), he continued to listen. 

     

    Well, that was more interesting. The confirmation that this ‘Pascal’ was a mage was nice, if completely unnecessary. Cistina, though- shaman? Was she like one of the Avvar mages? The question rose to his lips, but before he could ask-

     

    A Qunari of some hit the ground, throwing twin green blades to the ground at the impact. His skin was purple, his horns were massive, and a pair of wings jutted out from his back. Not actually a Qunari, then. Nevertheless, Anders didn’t particularly want to be anywhere near the now-yelling winged man. 

     

    Once again ignoring the call of stay, help, he drew on the Fade and melted into the form of a sleek orange tabby. Ear twitching, he watched for a moment longer- Pascal seemed to be handling things fine- before picking a direction and darting off. There was enough chaos that no one would notice him leaving. 

     

    At least, he thought that no one would notice. The hulking shape behind him quickly proved him wrong. A bit too quickly- it was gaining on him, and Anders preferred to avoid being torn to pieces. It just wasn’t a good way to start one’s morning. He stopped running as quickly as he was able to (it turned out that cat movement and human movement didn’t translate into each other well) and shifted back into a blur of color. Staff in hand, he spun around on one heel to face his pursuer. 
     


  6. Jowan [ Duke’s Room ]

     

    It was difficult to tell whether Duke was being serious about not understanding why Jowan was thankful or not. With Duke, it could be either one. Still, he was grateful.

     

    He didn’t want to intrude or ask for more than he needed, but getting cleaned up did sound nice. It had been far too long since he’d had a proper bath, and he was eager to be rid of the grime and dried blood coating his skin. He shook his head to say no, of course he didn’t mind, but Duke already had his back turned to him. 

     

    As they walked, Jowan tried to remember who each of the rooms belonged to. “I’ve never had a room of my own,” he admitted. Unless one counted a jail cell, of course, which he didn’t. First had been the apprentice dorms, then had been the servant’s quarters at Redcliffe Castle. Neither had been too bad, at least once he had gotten old enough to leave the dorm with the younger children. He'd never been able to bear the crying. 

     

    In all honesty, Duke’s room was less messy than he had expected. The bed was comfortably unmade, and he felt himself relax another fraction. The castle had no Templars to yell at one for leaving a bed unmade. “I should be fine without a healer. It’s not too deep, and I’ve done stitches before.” He left out the circumstances that required him to do stitches on himself. 

     

    “I’ll have you know that I’ve never burned anything down,” he said, unable to keep the smile from his voice or face. The banter was familiar, and he felt a twinge of nostalgia in his chest. “Thank you,” he said again before he walked into the bathroom. It was shockingly white- the tiles on the floor, the walls, the fixtures. The sink and bathtub - both made of the same shiny white material - each had metal faucets. Strange. Experimentally, he pushed one of the levers above the sink up, then pushed it back down when water flowed out of the faucet. “Duke?” he called, hoping that Duke hadn’t already left. It was possible that he’d be able to figure things out, but he didn’t want to take any chances. “Could you explain how this all works? It’s a bit different from what I’m used to.”
     


  7. Jowan [ Dining Hall ]

     

    He wasn’t sure why, but he felt disappointed that Duke hadn’t decided whether or not he was going or not. For all he knew, Duke wasn’t even as helpful Jowan thought. “I was just curious, and, well…” It would have been better to just outright say that he was interested in going, but he hesitated. Was it not presumptuous to assume that anyone even wanted him to come? Especially Duke; he had to be tired of babysitting by now. 

     

    “Oh!” Hurriedly, he gulped down the last of his tea before coughing. “Hot.” Duke agreeing to go just because he wanted to had been unexpected. “Yes, I’m finished,” he said, gathering his teacup and following Duke out of the room. “Thank you.” 

     

    Everyone had been so accommodating and kind to him (well, not everyone; most people in his life hadn’t, actually). It was more than he deserved, and it strengthened the feeling of needing to explain his powers. All of them, not just the weak flames and ice that he could conjure without bloodshed. Maybe things would have gone better with Neria if he had told her. 

     

    It was just that he didn’t know where to start. None of the members of XDRE seemed fazed by any of the powers that the new recruits displayed, but blood magic… ‘Hey, Duke, you know this cut on my arm that’s been causing problems? I did that on purpose so that I could boil everyone’s blood if the situation at the Gateway went bad.' Yeah, that’d go over well. It seemed like a different situation from turning into a strange furry monster or having dead people in one's head. 


  8. [ Natsuki ] [ Kitchen ]

     

    Natsuki had to resist the urge to huff in annoyance. This was getting ridiculous, to the point where they wondered how they had been frightened of Fiddlesticks in the first place. It was still important to avoid underestimating the unpredictable, sharp-edged hunk of metal that weighed several times more than them, but frustration had pushed some of the caution aside. "Here," they said, grabbing the meat and beginning to strip the bones from it with quick, efficient motions. "Now, explain what's wrong so that we can help. Don't say it's the lack of calcium- whatever you use it for, it isn't a coolant." They were quick to step away from Fiddlesticks and towards the sink when they finished removing the flesh from the bones. Not out of fear- it was simply that Fiddlesticks was emanating too much heat for someone that had difficulties with heat management themself. "I know that this place is strange and that you have no reason to trust us," they said as they ran water over their hands. "But let me assure you that we don't want a half-melted robot to clean up." Perhaps it wasn't the most gentle way to tell Fiddlesticks to cut it out, but they were getting tired of it.

     

    [ Jowan ] [ Dining Hall ]

     

    Jowan stared into his tea. He was more than a little tempted to follow Light and Spike to the library, but he couldn't. As helpful as it would be (and however much he missed being able to sit down and read for hours) there were more important things that had to be done. Specifically, bathing, finding new clothes, stitching up his wound properly, and finding out if they'd let him go on the current mission. 

     

    It was an absolutely terrible idea. Maybe not quite as bad as some of his other ideas, but it was up there. He was malnourished, was slightly woozy from blood loss, and didn't know how XDRE operated. 

     

    Even so... it wasn't like he needed any metal. Ideally, he'd have a lyrium staff, but he didn't have access to one and lyrium wasn't magnetic anyway. He could be useful, he was fairly sure of that. Maybe. 

     

    "Are you going on this mission?" he asked Duke. It would make sense if he was- barriers of such strength had to be useful. 


  9. [ Anders ] [ Gateway ]

     

    A satisfactory answer. Nonsensical, but most human things were. The 'pulling' had been unintentional; at most, the mage's crime had been negligence. 

     

    With some effort, Anders pushed Justice to the back of his mind. The glow faded from his eyes, the bright cracks in his skin closed, his voice returned to normal, and he stumbled. Pressing the heel of his palm into his forehead and closing his eyes until the dizziness cleared, he said, "That was not a satisfactory answer."  He considered sheathing his staff but decided against it. The mage seemed harmless enough (if a bit loopy herself), but that by no means meant that she or her companion were safe. "You expect me to believe that this is some alternate universe." He paused. "What do you want from me?" In an ideal world he wouldn't have had to question the motivation of someone who believed they were saving lives, but it was rare that people didn't want something. He just hoped that it didn't have anything to do with the blighted Deep Roads again. 

     

    Surely that man hadn't been there before. Distracted as he was, he was getting sloppy if he had failed to notice a wolf-eared man. There went any poorly-developed theories about being drugged and dragged out into the middle of nowhere. He had hoped that the other newcomer might be reasonable, but apparently he was the type of person that regularly forgot where they had fallen asleep. 

     

    At least he seemed friendlier than the other white-haired, pointy-eared, wolf-themed man that Anders knew. 

     

    "I'm Anders," he said, cautious. 


  10. Natsuki [ Main Entrance ]

     

    Fiddlesticks' head jerked oddly, and Natsuki took a startled step backward. Immediately after they cursed themself for making such an obvious mistake. One didn't show signs of weakness when facing unknowns. As unpredictable as being a robot made her, Fiddlesticks' probable lack of a chase reflex was fortunate. 

     

    In any case, Fiddlesticks' clearly wasn't fine, whatever she said. Why, though? Why was she suddenly not fine, and why hide it? The fan noises had ceased, but that didn't make sense if she was overheating. Slurred, disjointed speech was far more noticeable and worrisome than some panting.

     

    "Calcium?" they said, failing to keep the skepticism out of their voice. It was important, of course, but for biology- they'd never heard of a machine using it for anything. Admittedly, they didn't know much about machines, but calcium wasn't even an energy source. Surely Fiddlesticks consumed something else as well. "Broccoli has both," they said slowly. "But perhaps not as much as you need. Bones certainly have more calcium than vegetables and milk. Is the air too hot for you?"

     

    They grimaced at the reminder, but nodded. "Let's go, if no one has any more concerns that must be addressed here."


  11. Natsuki [ Main Entrance ]

     

    "Of course. Please let one of us know if you do require assistance." While Natsuki didn't believe for a moment that Fiddlesticks was really fine, it was better to avoid making any accusations. The atmosphere was relatively calm for the moment, and they wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible. "No, we don't have anything set up yet. Security mostly consists of various magical wards and Nata, for the time being. What do you need to eat? Petrol? Ethanol?" 


  12. Jowan [ XDREs Base, Kitchen ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ]

     

    "Right," he said, somewhat dubious. To be fair, he hadn't been particularly polite or calm at the Gateway. Still, maybe someone should inform Twilight that chaining someone up wasn't the best way to calm someone down, or that if she wanted to keep a mage from doing harm magebane or Smite would work better. "Thank you," he said belatedly. Whatever had happened before, the chains were gone now, and for that he was thankful. 

     

    "No, that's quite alright," he said, watching the dragon warily. Normally, he would have been quite glad to have a cut healed, but the way that the creature was watching him gave him goosebumps. She seemed to almost be made of wood and leaves, like some form of sylvan twisted into an almost drake-like shape. No, there was no point in attempting to classify anyone he met like that. Sylvan or not, though, her glowing eyes seemed to pierce through him. It was quite eerie, and he was okay with a bit of extra pain and inconvenience if it meant that she'd stay away. That, and if Duke's reaction was any indication he didn't trust her either. 

     

    It was too bad that Light didn't know any healing spells, but Jowan really wasn't one to talk when he didn't know any either. It was also a plus that she didn't have any dead people in her head; Duke was bad enough. "That's fine. I appreciate your help even so." He faltered a bit when she asked him to explain about elfroot. That, as much as everything else, proved that she wasn't from his world. Everyone had some idea about the healing powers of elfroot, even if they didn't know how to use it properly. "It's a healing herb. It treats all sorts of issues, though it's best used in potions. It's practically everywhere back- back where I come from, but I suppose there isn't any here." He rolled up his bloodied sleeve and poked at the wound, gritting his teeth. The bleeding had slowed, but they would need to clean the blood away to bandage the wound properly. Stitches would also be necessary to avoid a nasty scar; the edges were far too jagged to heal together naturally. It wasn't the first time that he'd had to stitch up one of his own cuts, and though the experience wasn't pleasant it would work out. 

     

    Wiping some of the blood away from the edge of the cut, he froze. There weren't many, but a few scars decorated his wrist. Whatever their assumption was, he didn't particularly want to have a conversation with anyone about them. "It's not so bad," he said with a bit of false cheer. Hopefully no one noticed. "I'll just bandage it up now to stop the bleeding and stitch it up properly later. We don't want to be late for the tea party." He took the bandages from Light, gave a nod of thanks, and started wrapping up the wound before anyone could protest. 

     

    ☙~~~❧

     

    Anders [ Gateway ]

     

    They paused. It was unusual for mortals to react with cheer and reason when confronted with Justice. She spoke, and though her words made little sense they betrayed neither hostility nor obvious deception.

     

    Stop. She is a mage. 

     

    That was true. The staff that the mortal held was clearly just that, and she carried it with the sort of practiced ease that suggested it was her own. Were she telling the truth, there was no reason for conflict. Lying was something that Justice had little experience with, but Anders suggested that Pascal was likely telling the truth. He was nothing like Varric, who seemed able to detect falsehoods as easily as he spun them, but even so Justice was tempted to trust his judgment. Was not a mage that didn't shy away from spirits likely to be an ally? What reason would an ally have to deceive them? 

     

    Glowing is not helping our diplomatic prospects, you know. 

     

    Justice ignored him, though his anger was fading. They needed answers. He angled their head to look in the direction that Pascal had indicated, only lifting a hand to block the sun when Anders complained. The 'friend' was not, as they had expected, traveling along the ground. Another oddity. Pascal was still the priority; he turned their head to look at her and moved the hand to grip the staff again. "Explain. Why are we here?"


  13. Anders [ Gateway ] [ DA:II ] 

     

    One moment he was standing and the next he was lying on his back. 

     

    Without thinking, he pushed himself into a sitting position. Instead of the blood-slicked stone that he expected, his hands touched soft grass and flowers. Confusion washed over him, and he tried to remember anything that could hint at what had happened. 

     

    He was not in the Fade. A lifetime ago that would have been his first guess, but there were benefits to having a spirit in one's head. Things were far too solid, and Justice wasn't dragged to the forefront. At the memories that that line of thought brought up his hands curled tightly around the grass. There had been a reason that he was avoiding the place, despite how he- despite how Justice missed it. 

     

    It wasn't Kirkwall, either. There wasn't enough grass there to feed a small goat, and the scent on the breeze was a pleasant mix of flowers and petrichor instead of salt, fish, and sewage. It was a nice change, admittedly. 

     

    Knowing where he wasn't still didn't tell him where he was. "Just once I'd like things to go smoothly," he muttered.They had been fighting Meredith-

     

    Blue flashed over his vision. Not now, she's dead, she can't hurt anyone anymore. The spirit backed down. 

     

    They had killed Meredith, and then... nothing. Hawke had been bleeding and exhausted, but there had been a soft smile of victory on her face. Fenris had been scowling as usual and had been letting an arm hang awkwardly. While normally he wouldn't have wanted to subject his friend or any of his allies to Hawke's... questionable healing abilities, they'd be fine. No one needed him anymore, he'd made sure of that. There wasn't a person in Kirkwall that didn't have a reason to want him dead, but he hadn't noticed any warning that he was about to be attacked. An ambush, then? Had the others been attacked as well?

     

    Eyes widening, he jumped to his feet, reached for his staff, and frantically looked around. This time when the blue filled his eyes he didn't try to stop it. It didn't matter if he ended up Maker-knows-where, but the others didn't deserve that. He didn't see any of them, just a staff-wielding human with strange hair and even stranger clothes. "Where are they?" they asked, voices layering over each other. They adopted a ready stance, but didn't attack or step forward. 

     

    ☙~~~❧

     

    Natsuki [ Main Hall ] [ Original Work ]

     

    Their eyes narrowed in suspicion, though they forced their face to relax when they noticed. Letting suspects know that they were suspects prematurely was a poor habit to get into. "I see." Despite her childlike demeanor, they had a hard time imagining Fiddlesticks as frightened by something. It was something about the weapons, sharp edges, and size. 

     

    They winced as Xander fixed the hole in the ceiling. It certainly needed to be done sooner rather than later, and they should have been grateful for the seamless repair, but they felt like evidence was being wiped away. They reminded themself that there had to have been plenty of witnesses to the destruction and that they wouldn't have been able to get anything out of the pile of rubble anyway. Even the bloodstains were practically useless- they didn't have access to the antigens that would let them determine blood type. Besides, at least Xander was taking things seriously. Stan, in particular, didn't seem to be very bothered by the blood or ex-hole. Then again, no one was running around screaming, nothing was on fire, and they hadn't been stabbed or needed to tase anyone yet, so it was at least going better than when Nata had shown up. 

     

    Fiddlesticks started to make noises as if she was breathing heavily (or like she was an overloaded desktop, for a more accurate comparison) and she looked frightened. Natsuki resisted the urge to reach for their gun once again and held up their hands in a placating gesture. They still didn't know if that was the correct way to communicate with the robot, but they didn't have any other options. A scared creature was a dangerous creature. "Is there something wrong?" they asked, voice low as if they were speaking to a spooked horse. 


  14. Jowan [ Kitchen ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ]

     

    Jowan followed Duke, barely missing a step upon seeing the pink-clad dishes flying through the air. If he thought about it, Twilight (who probably wasn't actually a demon) having a reliance on telekinesis made sense. Lacking hands had to make manipulating objects traditionally difficult; he wondered how other members of her species did anything, assuming she was actually part of a species and wasn't some one-off freak of nature. Unless they were somehow all mages? That was hard to imagine, but a society of talking lavender quadrupeds was hard to imagine in any case. He made a mental note to ask her about it, once he had the chance, was sure that she wouldn't vaporize him, and had access to vellum or paper to take notes on. 

     

    He gave Duke an incredulous look, eyebrows furrowed. "You don't-" 

     

    "You probably need to wash the wound with warm soap and water to prevent infection, then use some sort of hopefully-sterile cloth to bind it. But that's assuming nobody here has a healing spell? I mean, a small wound like that probably doesn't need a... I'm sorry... For... Listening in..."

     

    Their conversation hadn't happened in a private setting, Jowan still ducked his head in embarrassment. It was only fair that people knew what he'd done, yet he still felt exposed, having been so easily overheard. "It's fine," he said, trying to pretend that he hadn't been bothered. "Some elfroot, too. And some clean clothes, if that's possible." He didn't want to ask for too much, but elfroot was as common enough to be a weed and his robes would have to be burned. "I don't have any healing spells, but are you a mage? Please tell me that you don't have any dead people in your head." He considered asking what 'sterile' meant but decided not to. It couldn't be too important, and asking would only make him look stupid or distract from the topic at hand. 

     

    ☙~~~❧

     

    Natsuki [ Library Entrance > Main Hall ] [ Original Work ]

     

    Something felt off about Fiddlesticks, but Natsuki brushed the feeling aside. Of course something felt off- it was a robot, not anything biological. Some amount of falling into the uncanny valley was to be expected, and basing judgments on feelings and hunches was following a road that didn't lead anywhere good. 

     

    Still, anyone that thought that Duke was a fun person to meet had to be observed carefully. 

     

    "Yes, I'm sure that Duke will be glad to have help with collecting the pellets," they said drily. "We'll take you to the main hall-" they glanced at Xander for confirmation, "-and if we're lucky the tour will still be there. If not, we'll find them." Once again, they cursed the sudden and inconvenient lack of Lumas. 

     

    The walk to the main entrance was uneventful, but they could see that the beginning of the tour had been anything but. There was a large hole in the ceiling, and scorched rubble had collected on the ground. Dust had coated the floor, but there were sharp lines showing where something had blocked the dust from settling. "Duke," they said, almost resigned. 

     

    Xker, Cistina, Lara, and Stan were standing in the hall, though from the looks on their faces they didn't know what had happened either. Natsuki spotted a smear of blood on the ground near the door; they couldn't tell anything else about it without getting closer, but it was likely that whoever left it wasn't too seriously injured. One of their guests being injured was a problem, but someone dying less than an hour after arriving would have been worse for morale. "You were with the tour when they entered the building, yes?" they asked Fiddlesticks. "What happened before you got separated?" The robot clearly hadn't told them everything, but it was likely that she had either been separated because of the events in the hall or had caused them. 

     


  15. Jowan [ XDREs Base, en Route to the Dining Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ]

     

    Andraste, was Duke a pyromaniac? Maybe it was a good thing that his magic worked differently. Despite how the castle was made of stone, Jowan suspected that Duke would have found a way to burn it down anyway if he could shoot fireballs. Barriers could cause enough problems in Duke's hands, as he had seen. 

     

    Talking to a human that wasn't Tranquil and couldn't dream was odd, but it wasn't the oddest thing that had happened that day. It did raise some questions, however- if the Fade didn't exist on the planet, how could he do magic? He had to be connected to it somehow; he could feel its pull, the way that he could draw on it to reshape the physical world. Either the Fade did exist there and everyone else was cut off from it, or he could somehow access it across worlds. Neither sounded plausible, but he didn't know much about such things. No one did. 

     

    Of course, 'hallucination' was still an option. 

     

    "I see," he said even though he didn't. In truth, he was tempted to interrogate Duke about his magic system, but it wasn't the time and he didn't have any parchment available. Alternative ways of using magic had always intrigued him (he wished that he could say that he'd been drawn to blood magic for that reason). Having dead people in one's head... still sounded a bit too much like demonic possession, but giving Duke the benefit of the doubt couldn't make things worse for him and it sounded interesting.

     

    Laughter and further contact hadn't been what Jowan expected Duke's reaction to be at all. Did nothing faze him? He pulled away a bit, eyes wide with shock, before relaxing again when Duke claimed to be joking. Of course, Duke followed that by explaining that he had hardly been joking at all. Being an accomplice to murder wasn't much better than actual murder.

     

    The thought of accomplices reminded him of Lily, of Neria; sure, they'd helped him escape, but they hadn't known. They hadn't deserved to get punished along with him- Maker, he hoped that Lily was somehow okay. He knew that it was unlikely, but he couldn't imagine her in that place. Not when she'd reacted exactly how she should have. 

     

    Noticing that his teeth and uninjured hand were clenched, he took a deep breath and forced himself to relax. It would be hypocritical to make assumptions about Duke when he didn't know the entire story. He could ask for it later. "I don't really deserve to start anew," he muttered. "But to the kitchen, then! I'd like to avoid dying, if it's all the same to you."


  16. Jowan [ XDREs Base, Main Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

     

    Lara's gaze was, to put in mildly, somewhat terrifying. Unconsciously, Jowan stepped closer to Duke, as if the blond could somehow protect him. When he realized what he had done he made to step away, embarrassed, but Duke had stepped closer as well- ah, so that was how it was. Given Duke's actions so far, he wasn't surprised that he thought that antagonizing angry women was a good idea. Whatever, he could play along, as long as it didn't get him killed as well. 

     

    He hadn't planned on following Yusei and the others and would have preferred to avoid getting closer to Lara, but he didn't seem to have much of a choice. Besides, even as low as tea was on his priority list, he couldn't deny that fluids would be good for him. Fluids and medical attention. Neither of those things seemed to be in supply in the entrance hall, so he followed as best as he could.

     

    "No, not you. You mentioned a man in your head, if you didn't just mean that you're hearing things." It wouldn't be surprising, but he didn't say that. 

     

    Well, that was unexpected. He frowned. "The Fade. The place you go when you dream? If you dream, I mean, but you don't exactly look like a dwarf and there was the whole magic thing that you did." He reached out with his free hand and summoned a small flame, cupped within his palm. "See? It doesn't matter if you're from... a different universe or whatever, the Fade's still here. Wouldn't be able to do that without it." He closed his hand, extinguishing the flame. 

     

    Those were the questions that he didn't want to answer. Biting his cheek, he turned his head away. The temptation to say 'no' and leave it at that was strong, but that wouldn't solve anything. He was confused and lost, and maybe if he volunteered information Duke would respond in kind. "I... I'm not sure what it's like where you're from, but in Ferelden attempted murder is still a crime." He forced himself to continue, but he couldn't make himself meet Duke's eyes. "That's not the only thing. I'm not exactly popular back h- there." It was still an evasion, he knew, but wasn't that fair? Duke hadn't exactly explained after he'd claimed to burn down a village, after all. Avoiding the subject of blood magic and treason was cowardly, but cowardice was something that he was good at. "The bleeding is from after I got here. Uh, speaking of which, you wouldn't happen to have any bandages, would you?" The gash had apparently been deeper than he had thought, and with the adrenaline fading the pain was becoming only more noticeable. "What about you? You haven't explained how you got here, and last I checked arson was a crime as well," he said, trying to change the subject away from himself. 


  17. Jowan [ XDREs Base, Main Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

     

    Jowan flinched as Duke looped his arm around his, but unsurprisingly that didn't deter Duke. When a light tug didn't free him either, he gave up and resigned himself to his fate of being forever trapped. Being locked in a dungeon for weeks (was that how long it had been? had it been months?) hadn't been kind to his already poor physique, and he doubted that any further magic would lead to good things for him. Normally, he would have been terrified to have an abomination (or anyone that he didn't know, really) touch him, but Duke seemed adept at turning fear into confusion. Every time Jowan thought he had figured him out, Duke said or did something to disarm him. What kind of person wasn't bothered by attempted murder? Sane person, he mentally amended, remembering Neria. 

     

    He opened his mouth to explain that no, he couldn't just stop bleeding, but Duke interrupted with another of his inane speeches. He had no idea how to respond to it; questions burned in his mind, but for some reason he suspected that he wouldn't be able to get a clear answer. It was probably better to just accept that Duke was likely exaggerating, making stuff up, or mad and move on. He did, however, bristle at the implication that near-death experiences were some kind of requirement to bond with someone. Getting into near death experiences hadn't been good for any of his relationships, unless one counted living under the constant threat of death. In which case... well, he didn't have anything to compare it to, really. There had never been a time in his life where he'd been truly safe.

     

    "The demon, you mean," he said, trying to sound angry but unable to disguise the waver of uncertainty in his voice. He couldn't deny now that things really didn't seem to be working the way he was used to. "He's... the Maker. The one who makes things. Or, made things, actually." He shifted; it was surprisingly hard to explain. There were plenty of non-Andrastian regions in he world, but everyone in the Circle was an Andrastian (at least in public, as going against the Chantry in the Circle was ill-advised). "...You've never even heard of him, have you? Andraste, the Black City, Darkspawn, the Fade? Or the Beyond, if you want to call it that?" Duke had to at least know about the Fade, even if he called it a different name. It'd be difficult for a human to somehow not know about it. 


  18. Jowan [ XDREs Base, Main Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

     

    Oh, Andraste, the remaining golem was talking. Were golems even supposed to talk? Jowan had to admit that it had a point, but he'd rather Typheus stay quiet about it. Not that he didn't want to learn more about the mysterious organization that kidnapped them, but he didn't want to deal with any more of them. The few that he had met were violent, unstable, and strange enough for one day. On the plus side, Nata's rant did give him some valuable information- like how the castle apparently did have a dungeon, and how Nata apparently was either insane or lying. Both seemed likely. An organization couldn't just take control of an entire planet, "small" or not. The very idea was ridiculous; even the Tevinter Imperium never quite managed to conquer all of Thedas, and that was just one continent. 

     

    Duke wasn't doing much better in the credibility department. Jowan wasn't quite sure how he expected to convince them that he wasn't part of any organization when his coworker had just been talking about fellow organization members; maybe he just hadn't thought things through. More concerning was how Duke had practically admitted to being possessed, even if he didn't say the word 'demon'. Jowan's heart sped up and his eyes widened in response. "Abominations, things just keep getting better," he said, giving a shaky laugh and running his fingers through his hair. He wasn't sure why Duke's reveal bothered him so much more than the pride demon currently restraining Sora. Maybe it was the casual way that he said it, or how non-obvious it was (weren't most abominations terrifying, murderous monsters?). 

     

    "I'm sure you're aware, but you're bleeding. Everything alright there? Are you a criminal? How many people have you murdered? I didn't think Twilight would suddenly take an interest in the slave trade, but I suppose there's a first for everything. Seriously though, you doing okay, buddy? You look like something just burnt your village in front of your eyes or something. Was it you?"

     

    The discussion he was having with himself about his chances of surviving if he used blood magic before attempting to flee was brought to a halt. How was one even supposed to respond to something like that? "I- what?" he sputtered. He looked down at his arm as if its state had somehow changed since the last time he saw it, then looked back at Duke, embarrassed. "Oh, thanks, I didn't notice blood all over my arm. Of course I'm not a-" he paused, biting his cheek and looking away. It wasn't like he was going to fool anyone, chained as he was, and the 'apostate' thing was a bit of a giveaway. They'd find out eventually, and he was going to try to do better if he was being given yet another chance that he didn't deserve. "I- but I didn't murder anyone, not successfully." The last of Duke's questions didn't even deserve an answer (not that the others did either), but he found the words spilling out of his mouth anyway. "I don't even have a village to burn down. Not that I would, mind you, just- Maker, I should just stop-" 

     

    He was stopped from digging himself even further into a hole by the appearance of someone with absurd hair. Yusei claimed that they were trying to help, but Jowan was feeling less than thrilled by the idea of following someone when following Twilight had brought him into a situation that nearly killed him. "Wait, you can't just show up and expect us to travel deeper into this place just like that."


  19. Natsuki [ XDREs Base, Library Entrance ] [ Original Work ]

     

    Really, how did Xander manage to express his disapproval so clearly? He didn't even have ears or a tail to flick. Natsuki shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, but ignored it. How they dealt with pain was their own problem; Xander could scold them if it started affecting anyone else (which it wouldn't, because that would go against the point of bottling everything up). 

     

    At the sight of the mech barreling into the hallway, Natsuki's hand shot towards the weapons holstered at their side. Before they could draw either one, they forced themself to stop, clenching and unclenching their fist before dropping it to the side. Stupid! Once they had gotten a decent look at Fiddlesticks it became clear that they wouldn't be able to damage her, with weapons or without. They doubted that a Taser would hurt a robot much even if the barbs were somehow held against it, and handguns were similarly useless. Breathing deeply, they continued to watch the robot and relaxed their shoulders. The robot wasn't doing anything threatening yet, and they wanted to do everything that they could to keep it that way. Xander had the same idea, so they decided that it'd be best if they followed his lead. 

     

    They weren't sure what kind of body language the robot would find least threatening, however. Humans tended to react well to raised, exposed hands, while animals usually interpreted the gesture as one trying to make themself look larger. Maintaining eye contact was usually a threatening gesture, but looking away could be seen as a sign of weakness. Avoiding either extreme, they blinked slowly and allowed their gaze to travel around the robot's body instead of maintaining eye contact.

     

    The robot was sentient, clearly. Natsuki didn't know much about robots, and never expected to deal with sentient AI in their lifetime, but they could tell that it had been designed to be expressive and human-like. All of its proportions were wrong and it didn't really have a face, sure, but the ears, eye, and body language were all expressive enough. A new recruit from the Gate, then? They'd have expected someone to let Xander and them know if one of the arrivals had started running through the castle, but they hadn't gotten a warning about the explosion either. Something was wrong. 


  20. Natsuki [ XDREs Base, Library Entrance ] [ Original Work ] 

     

    "Fine, thanks," they said, trying very hard to avoid wincing. It didn't work, but they at least managed to hold back a groan of pain. "I'll survive, anyway. Always do." They looked down at the floor and poked a ball bearing with the tip of their foot; it rolled a short distance before stopped. There were dozens of the things scattered over the floor, and Natsuki wouldn't have been surprised to find more in other places. Usually Duke at least tried to keep his pranks safe, but he didn't seem to be good at thinking things through and he probably somehow forgot that stone floors and skulls didn't mix well. For a moment they considered picking them up by hand, but it would take too long and they were likely to miss some. "We'll have to find a broom, there should be one-" they started, before stopping, narrowing their eyes, and cocking their head slightly to the side. Some kind of loud rumbling had interrupted them, the noise conducting easily through the stone of the castle, but it didn't sound close. "Did you hear that?" they asked, tensing and listening for anything more. 

     

    Jowan [ XDREs Base, Main Entrance ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

     

    Jowan shivered and trying to avert his eyes when the lighter golem seemed to look at him with its singular, glowing eye, but found himself unable to avert his gaze. It was just so alien; even the metal it was made out of didn't seem to reflect the light the way it should, it was far too complex, and weren't golems supposed to be made out of stone? Fortunately for him, Typheus seemed more interested in getting through the maze than starting a staring contest. 

     

    He didn't doubt the pride demon for a moment when he said that he would kill them for attacking Duke, and once again felt that he had made a terrible mistake. It seemed to be a theme for his life. On the bright side, Nata apparently didn't know whom had cast the spell, and he intended to keep it that way. When Nata's gaze passed over him he tried to keep his face blank (or at least however it had been before- he was pretty sure that his expression was some combination of confused, terrified, and 'please get me to a doctor'), but he couldn't help the way his eyes flicked to the sides. 

     

    The good news was that Nata couldn't murder him while throwing himself to the floor. The bad news was that he only did that because one white haired boy, whom has seemed almost normal and unassuming among all of the chaos, had turned into something fluffy, large, and completely unrecognizable before firing off some form of magical attack. Jowan fully admitted to letting out a shriek, because whatever anyone said, screaming like a small girl was an appropriate response to shapeshifters destroying stone ceilings with weird blue lights. 

     

    Surprisingly enough, Nata didn't end up stabbing the... manakete (he'd never heard of such a thing, though it would make sense if a demon knew more about certain things than he did), despite his earlier threats. Jowan let out a huff of annoyance- so a casting a minor spell was a crime worthy of death threats, but nearly killing everyone in the room wasn't? It was a silly thing to get annoyed with, given the situation, but it bothered him all the same. 

     

    He blinked at Duke's words. That... hadn't been what he had been expecting. He had no idea how to respond to that, either, and said, "Jowan," before even thinking. Giving out his name wasn't the best idea, but he supposed that if it kept him from being called 'Mr. Tall and Brooding and Chained' again things could be worse. That, and the 'masochist' comment convinced him more than anything else that he shouldn't have torn open his arm. Someone tried to attack Duke (and honestly, he would have been tempted to take Sora's side if he wasn't so against the idea of being killed with knives and purple lightning- at the very least, Duke deserved to be punched), but Nata stopped the attack before there could be any further violence. Jowan rubbed his temples in an attempt to stave off his building headache, accidentally smearing blood on them in the process. 


  21. Name: Anders/Justice
    Origin: Dragon Age: II
    Info: An abomination possessed by a corrupted spirit of Justice. Loves cats. 
    Abilities:

    • Mage: Anders has a stronger connection to the Fade than most people, allowing him to cast spells. Each spell has its own cooldown and uses a portion of his mana, which slowly regenerates over time. Lyrium potions allow him to restore mana much more quickly. 
    • Winter’s Blast: Anders summons a blast of cold that injures and slows a single enemy.
    • Deep Freeze: A cone of deadly ice shoots forth from the mage's hands to injure and slow opponents.
    • Fireball: The mage unleashes a bolt of flame that explodes, scattering and scorching foes.
    • Spirit Strike: Anders fires a blast of spiritual energy at a single target. It isn’t as powerful as some other spells, but has a short cooldown. 
    • Greater Heal: The mage imbues an ally with restorative energy, knitting flesh and mending bone.
    • Vengeance: While this mode is active, Anders gains a measure of control over the spirit within. His attacks and spells inflict much more damage, he becomes able to sacrifice his own health the restore mana and reduce the cooldown on his spells, and killing an enemy allows him to heal slightly (anders no, this is not that kind of RP), but he is more susceptible to damage and cannot be healed conventionally.
    • Panacea: A mode that reserves a large portion of Anders’ mana, prevents the casting of offensive spells,  and cannot be used at the same time as Vengeance. With it active, nearby allies slowly regenerate and heal, and Anders is able to use Aid Allies, healing every ally in an area with a single spell.
    • Herbalist: Magic isn’t the only way to heal. Anders has extensive knowledge about anatomy and things like healing herbs and potions. 
    • Minor Shapeshifting: Though he never got the chance to learn anything more and isn't very good at it, he knows enough to turn into a large orange tabby cat with brown eyes. 

    Link to wiki: Wiki Page

    Extra: 

    • He's claustrophobic.
    • He gets nightmares and has insomnia.
    • He's absolutely terrible at lying; he used to be better at it, but Justice doesn't like deception or fully understand the concept of lying. 

  22. Jowan [ XDRS Base, Main Entrance ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ]

     

    Startled by the sight of the brown golem moving alarmingly quickly, Jowan tried to step backwards. Predictably, it didn't work very well, and he fell to the ground without even his hands to catch him. Maybe that was a good thing- at least it meant that his wrists stayed unbroken. He swore, both because of the pain and as a delayed reaction to the golem's actions. Nope. New plan. If getting through the maze was the best way to get as far away from the very violent giant murder things (there was also the door to the outside, but having a wall that they couldn't destroy between him and them sounded nice), then that was what he was going to do. 

     

    It took him an embarrassing amount of time to scramble to his feet. Chains really weren't fun to deal with (he wished that the purple demon would remove them again, but he doubted that just asking nicely would get him anywhere). By the time he was upright again, the purple demon had circled around back to them again. Great, so that trick was out. Not for the first time, he wished that he had a staff. The standard mage technique of poking weird things with a long stick rarely went wrong (well, except for that time an apprentice lost their eyebrows, or that time that a hunger demon was released and killed two people, or that time that... it was probably a good time to stop mentally listing things). 

     

    He looked down at his blood-soaked robes and bit his lip. No, that was an incredibly bad plan for several reasons. His other spells wouldn't be very helpful for maze solving... unless the barriers required concentration to maintain? They were clearly quite powerful, so he'd be surprised if they didn't. Then again, they didn't seem to work by any of the rules that he was used to, but it was worth a shot. As long as he wasn't punished for attacking Duke, at least. The purple demon hadn't said anything to the golems, despite how attacking the walls apparently hurt the man maintaining them. Besides, Disorient didn't have any lasting effects. He knew from experience that it wasn't pleasant, but it was nothing like getting hit with a fireball. 

     

    Focusing on Duke, he drew a bit of power from the blood leaking from his arm. He knew that he shouldn't, but... well, he was already bleeding, no one would know, and he wasn't a powerful mage. It wouldn't do any harm, aside from the twinge of weakness that he felt as he cast the spell. There was a momentary shimmer in the air around Duke as the spell found its target. He shot a nervous glance at the golems, hoping that his plan worked. That, or whatever Light and the purple demon were doing. He really wasn't picky so long as he didn't get crushed. 

     

    Natsuki [ XDRS Base, Library ] [ Original Work ] 

     

    They hummed in reply, displeased by the lack of news. "I'll send a Luma with a request for a status update when we next see one, then." The miniature stars seemed to never be around when they needed one, and everywhere when they didn't. Biases sure were fun. Still, it was annoying even if they were pretty sure that the number of Lumas flying around didn't change based on need. 

     

    "Thank you," they said, any temptation to decline prevented from realization by Xander's gaze. They were pretty sure that he would physically drag them there if they said no. Besides, he was right about them needing their strength to deal with the new arrivals. People generally weren't too stable when they were suddenly dragged to the base, and it seemed like the majority of them had destructive abilities. 

     

    They reached the door and stepped through, planning on hold it open for Xander. Instead, they felt their feet fall out from under them and they landed with a thump on the stone floor and... ball bearings? A quick physical inventory revealed that nothing was broken, though they suspected that that was only because breaking wasn't really a thing that their bones did. "Duke," they said through gritted teeth, standing up and being careful to not step on any more ball bearings. 


  23. Jowan [ Gate ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ]

     

    Andraste, that hurt. Cutting oneself with a sharp knife wasn't exactly pleasant, but it was apparently a lot better than tearing one's flesh apart. Increasing the pressure on the afflicted wrist helped a little. It was the best that he could manage, anyway. Now that he'd done it, he wasn't sure that injuring himself had been the best decision, but at the same time it was... comforting. There was power in it, just waiting to be used. 

     

    Was the quadruped actually disappointed that everyone wasn't suddenly friends? That wasn't how the world worked, and she had to know that. Fighting wasn't some kind of game, so of course people were going to die. Demons and spirits weren't innocent of that idea either, however little their understood about the material world. The Fade wasn't exactly peaceful. Speaking of which... He slowly spun around on one heel, scanning the oddly curved horizon. Nope, he hadn't just missed it. No ominous dark cities forever floating at the edge of the sky, eternally out of reach. Huh. So, he really wasn't trapped in the Fade. 

     

    He wasn't sure what to do with that information, and it only made him feel more lost. If he wasn't in the Fade or dreaming, that left 'oddly vivid hallucination' and 'the probably-demons are actually telling the truth'. The latter still seemed unlikely, given that teleporting went against the cardinal rules of magic, but alternative universes didn't play into any magical theories that he'd heard of. That, and though he knew that it was dangerous to assume things about demons, the quadruped really didn't seem like one. She was obviously too smart to be a rage or hunger demon, wasn't playing off of any of his wishes (fix things. go back and stop himself from ever reading that book. see Neria again and apologize one last time.) like a desire demon wouldand it was hard to imagine a pride demon pretending to be so naive. Then again, she was consorting with demons, which was almost as bad, but maybe she didn't understand what she was doing. Maybe she really did believe what she was saying. 

     

    Still, he wasn't planning on letting his guard down. He followed the quadruped, but only because he didn't have anywhere else to go and because it hardly seemed like it could get him into worse trouble than he was already in. Sitting in the middle of some creepy henge wasn't his idea of a fun time. At least he had learned some names; apparently the pride demon was called Nata and the person wearing a cloak and pointed mask (he was pretty sure that some doctors had worn something like that during the First or maybe Second Blight, before it had been realized that there was no helping someone that had been tainted) was Badu.

     

    Jowan [ XDRS Front Hall ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

     

    The castle was impressive, though it wasn't quite as large or grand as the palace at Redcliffe. Hopefully the dungeons were a bit nicer, though. He jumped and prepared for a fight when the quadruped suddenly stopped and started shouting and the figure at the top of the stairs, but forced himself to calm down upon noticing the lack of malice in her voice. His state of artificial calm didn't last long, however, as suddenly a set of blue barriers were revealed and the boy at the top of the stairs - Duke - launched into some kind of speech about a maze. Something under his eye seemed to be glowing as well, which was weird. Lyrium tattoos, maybe? Was Duke from Tevinter? 

     

    Blowing a hole through the walls did sound tempting, but Duke was probably right in that another attempt at murder was a poor choice of action. Besides, he didn't know how strong the walls were and didn't want to embarrass himself by failing to make a dent. He noticed Duke's raised eyebrow and averted his gaze. He supposed that maybe he did stick out a bit, with his chains and blood-splattered robes, but they were also accompanied by two ten foot tall metal golems. 

     

    When Duke finished, Jowan crossed his arms (which was made quite difficult for the chains and need to keep his left arm wrapped in his robes) and glared up at him, an incredulous expression on his face. What was the point of this? Some kind of sadistic game? He wasn't interested in playing it, anyway. Let the others do whatever it was that Duke wanted. 


  24. Jowan [ Gate ] [ Dragon Age: Origins ] 

     

    "Oh, sorry," Jowan snapped, taking a nervous step backwards even as he did so. "Spirit, don't touch me." Similarly to the white-haired one, the aggressive girl looked almost like a person. She clearly wasn't as deformed or monstrous as abominations and shades usually were, but there were still a few things that looked wrong. Specifically, her hair was an unnatural shade of pink, and there was something a bit off about her ears. The angle between the top of the ear and her head was wrong, or something like that. Not to mention the electricity sparking at her shoulder, but that was probably the most normal thing about the situa- Maker have mercy, did the white haired one just pop his shoulder back into place. 

     

    He hadn't expected the Mind Blast to hurt or keep the white haired one away, but seeing something that looked like a child fix its own dislocated shoulder without even a wince was unsettling. "Don't call him a demon, she says," he muttered. If he had any doubts about the white haired one being inhuman, they were gone. It was really doing quite poorly of appearing to be a person. That made it seem inexperienced and nonthreatening, but then again, there was the possibility of it all being a ruse. 

     

    When the knife-wielding maniac started shouting, he jumped slightly. Safe!? He wasn't going to pretend a place was safe just because a demon told him it was. Then again... there hadn't been any actual violence, yet, aside from his spell and the invasion of personal space. The others that had allegedly been transported there didn't look very okay with the situation, either. Well, most of them didn't, and who knew what was going on with the golems (he briefly flicked his eyes towards them, just to make sure that they hadn't moved). Frustrated, he ran a hand across his scalp and tightened his fist around his hair. None of it made sense. 

     

    His thoughts about the others were rapidly displaced by the more pressing concern of the knife maniac stalking towards him. Every muscle in his body tensed, and his hands dropped to his sides, prepared to cast spells. A few tongues of flame escaped from between his fingers, but he tightened his hands into fists to extinguish them. However self-destructive he was, he was at least able to avoid fireballing the demon threatening him with a knife. "Noted," he said, gulping.

     

    Suddenly, it clicked. Probably a demon, weird features, purple electricity. Just what his day needed. Some extra stabbings by a pride demon. 

     

    Despite his incredible ability to not start fights with pride demons, his self-preservation abilities apparently didn't extend to shutting his mouth. "Wait, I've been kidnapped by a group of dragon cult- ack!" Somehow while he had been distracted by the minor death threats, the purple quadruped had managed to sneak up on him. The same lavender glow from before wrapped itself around his shackles, and they started to assault him. He wasn't nearly quick enough to avoid the ones for his ankles, but he briefly batted away the handcuffs. They approached him a second time, and this time he waited for a cuff to partially wrap around his left wrist before he pulled his hand towards his body sharply. The jagged edge where the cuff had been broken dragged across his skin, tearing a long gash into his wrist and forcing him to suppress a scream. A moment later, both cuffs had been mended around his wrists as if they'd never been broken in the first place. At least the demon hadn't tried to gag him again. 

     

    He held his bleeding wrist against the front of his robes, trying to stem the bleeding. It didn't seem like a good moment to try anything, but he felt a bit better about the option being there. Or worse. It wasn't like he had ever planned to use blood magic again, but most things that he planned didn't go so well. There was a good chance that the demons would realize that the injury hadn't been an accident and just kill him, but at this point he didn't even mind much. Dying because of blood magic wasn't new or undeserved, it was just delayed. 

     

    He didn't expect to see the white haired one turn into a wolf and start bouncing around the quadruped excitedly while... talking? How. He'd heard of Witches of the Wilds shapeshifting, but he wasn't pretty sure that they didn't speak after they did so. Whatever. It was just one more weird thing in an incredibly tiring day. 


  25. Natsuki [ XDRS Base, Library ] [ Original Work ]

     

    Having all of their digits still attached really was nice, Natsuki mused. It took ages for the nerves to heal back properly, and one pinky still always felt a little bit chilled. Then again, that one had somehow been strangled in their sleep, so maybe the blood supply hadn't been fixed as well as it should have been. The mangled one's replacement had gone better. Xander probably didn't need to know that, though. 

     

    "Indeed. It's good to remain busy." They exhaled sharply in what was almost a laugh. "Yes, let's keep our priorities in order." They weren't quite sure why 'gardening' was on anyone's schedule, but maybe Xander found it relaxing, or perhaps new recruits were more likely to join up if it looked like XDRS knew what it was doing and had things under control. That, or the flowers were actually important for some weird magic reason. In any case, had it been someone else they might have made a comment, but they more than trusted Xander to manage his time effectively.  

     

    They frowned a bit. They had been working a bit hard, but it wasn't anything abnormal, was it? No, there was too much to do. It was good that Xander was concerned, and everyone had to be at their physical and mental best, but Natsuki could take care of themself. Well, not really, but it they doubted that anyone was expected to do much self-surgery. "I haven't gone outside, no, but I ate." They didn't mention that it had been a leftover bowl of rice that they had microwaved for breakfast. 

     

    "The new arrivals should have 'ported in by now, if things are going on schedule," they said, trying to change the subject. "You haven't received a Luma with an update either, right?" Hopefully one would be sent soon. It was quite disconcerting, not maintaining radio contact while others were in a potentially dangerous situation.